Does God Tempt Man?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Hi,

I have a question about temptation.  Jesus prayed to the Father and asked him not to lead us into temptation (Mat 6:13), but there is a Bible verse that says God doesn’t tempt man (Jas 1:13).  If God doesn’t tempt man, then why did Jesus ask the Father not to lead us into temptation?

Regards,

L____

Hi L____,

Thank you for your question.

You said:

“My question is about temptation.  Jesus prayed to the Father and asked him not to lead us into temptation (Mat 6:13), but there is a Bible verse that says God doesn’t tempt man (Jas 1:13).  If God doesn’t tempt man, then why did Jesus ask the Father not to lead us into temptation?”

Here are both of the verses you reference, which seem to contradict each other:

Mat 6:13  And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

Jas 1:13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man:

This King James translation of Jas 1:13 mistranslates the Greek word ‘hautou’ as ‘he’ when it should have been translated as “Himself”.

Here is Strong’s definition of that Greek word:

G848
αὑτοῦ
hautou
how-too’
Contraction for G1438; self (in some oblique case or reflexive relation): – her (own), (of) him (-self), his (own), of it, thee, their (own), them (-selves), they.

Here is a much better translation of this verse of scripture:

Jas 1:13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man:

Every apparent contradiction of scripture is easily cleared up when we consult “the sum of [God’s] Word”, and if we do so “line upon line and precept upon precept”. God’s Word is intentionally written in this way for this express purpose:

Psa 119:160  The sum of thy word is truth; And every one of thy righteous ordinances endureth for ever. (ESV)

Isa 28:13  But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken. 

What this tells us is that Christ, the Word who was also “the cloud” that led Israel out of Egypt, is darkness and a snare to our old man in the middle of the day, while at the same time, He is bright daylight to our new man in the middle of the night:

Exo 14:19  And the angel of God, which went before the camp of Israel, removed and went behind them; and the pillar of the cloud went from before their face, and stood behind them:
Exo 14:20  And it came between the camp of the Egyptians and the camp of Israel; and it was a cloud and darkness to them, but it gave light by night to these: so that the one came not near the other all the night. 

It is the same ‘cloud’ which is being ‘seen’ by “them” and “these”, yet their perceptions are complete opposite.

Here are the verses immediately preceding the revelation that God’s words are “a snare” to our old man:

Isa 28:9  Whom shall he teach knowledge? and whom shall he make to understand doctrine? them that are weaned from the milk, and drawn from the breasts. 
Isa 28:10  For precept must be upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little:
Isa 28:11  For with stammering lips and another tongue will he speak to this people.
Isa 28:12  To whom he said, This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; and this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear.
Isa 28:13  But the word of the LORD was unto them precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little, and there a little; that they might go, and fall backward, and be broken, and snared, and taken.

There is a paper on the iswasandwillbe.com web site which demonstrates with the scriptures how the writers of the scriptures handled the Word of God. Christ and His apostles set us an example of how we are to approach and understand His Words, and we would do well to follow their example and use God’s words in the same manner in which Christ and His apostles used His Words.

Here is the link to that paper: Rightly Dividing the Word

God’s Word is a book that is to add verse to verse.

So we are to never make the mistake of attempting to understand why one verse seems to contradict the other. We are always to seek to see what is the sum of God’s Word, and in this particular case we discover that While the Father Himself tempts no man, God does indeed send His angels to tempt men many times. Here are but a few examples of where we are plainly told that God led men into temptation:

Gen 22:1  And it came to pass after these things, that God did tempt Abraham, and said unto him, Abraham: and he said, Behold, here I am.

Taking this verse by itself, it appears to be a direct contradiction of Jas 1:13, but later in this same story we learn that it was a messenger of the Lord who spoke these very same words to Abraham:

Gen 22:11  And the angel of the LORD called unto him out of heaven, and said, Abraham, Abraham: and he said, Here am I.
Gen 22:12  And he said, Lay not thine hand upon the lad, neither do thou any thing unto him: for now I know that thou fearest God, seeing thou hast not withheld thy son, thine only son from me.

It is the angel of the Lord who says “now I know…” because the angel is speaking for the Lord, and God the Father Himself is not tempting Abraham, but has sent an angel to do so.

The Lord led  Joseph’s brothers to sell him into Egypt:

Gen 45:4  And Joseph said unto his brethren, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And he said, I am Joseph your brother, whom ye sold into Egypt. 
Gen 45:5  Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that ye sold me hither: for God did send me before you to preserve life.
Gen 45:6  For these two years hath the famine been in the land: and yet there are five years, in the which there shall neither be earing nor harvest.
Gen 45:7  And God sent me before you to preserve you a posterity in the earth, and to save your lives by a great deliverance.
Gen 45:8  So now it was not you that sent me hither, but God: and he hath made me a father to Pharaoh, and lord of all his house, and a ruler throughout all the land of Egypt.

It was the spirit of God that drove Christ into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil:

Mat 4:1  Then was Jesus led up of the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. 

Mar 1:13  And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Yes, He was “tempted of Satan”, but Mark repeats for us that it was the spirit of God that drove Christ into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil.

Mar 1:12  And immediately the Spirit driveth him into the wilderness
Mar 1:13  And he was there in the wilderness forty days, tempted of Satan; and was with the wild beasts; and the angels ministered unto him.

Luke confirms that it was the spirit that “led” Christ to His temptation by the devil:

Luk 4:1  And Jesus being full of the Holy Ghost returned from Jordan, and was led by the Spirit into the wilderness, 
Luk 4:2  Being forty days tempted of the devil. And in those days he did eat nothing: and when they were ended, he afterward hungered.

The Lord tempted David to number the people of Israel:

2Sa 24:1  And again the anger of the LORD was kindled against Israel, and he moved David against them to say, Go, number Israel and Judah. 

But applying the principle of adding the verses of scripture together in a way that brings harmony to the Word of God we discover who the Lord actually used to “move David against [Israel]”:

1Ch 21:1  And Satan stood up against Israel, and provoked David to number Israel. 
1Ch 21:2  And David said to Joab and to the rulers of the people, Go, number Israel from Beersheba even to Dan; and bring the number of them to me, that I may know it.

I hope all of this demonstrates that this is what is actually being said here in James one when it is properly translated:

Jas 1:13  Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God; for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempteth no man: 

The scriptures may seem many times to contradict themselves. But the Truth is they never do:

Joh 10:35  If he called them gods, unto whom the word of God came, and the scripture cannot be broken;

If ever there appears to be a problem with the scriptures, that problem is never with the scriptures themselves but it is in our lack of understanding,. We are never to even “think above what has been written”:

1Co 4:6  And, brothers, I transferred these things to myself and Apollos because of you, that in us you may learn not to think above what has been written, that you not be puffed up one over the other.

Your brother in Christ,

Mike

 

Other related posts